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Relatively low-tech 30L Cube

Emyr

Member
Joined
20 Jul 2011
Messages
343
Location
London
It's been nearly 10 years since my last scape - a 60L Iwagumi (https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/60p-iwagumi-mountain-scape.29806/) and I thought it was about time for a new one in a completely different style. I thought I'd share and log the process with you all again (partly because I may need your help along the way after not running a tank for so long). This will be a jungle / forest type low-tech 30L cube scape kept in my kitchen, which I hope will also be the home to a breeding colony of black and red CRS.

The initial plan is to run the Twinstar LED at 40% for 8 hours a day. I'm contemplating having two photoperiods of 4 hours (6am-10am and 3pm-7pm) - any thoughts on this, especially those who have had success with it would be appreciated. I'll be dosing liquid carbon at 1ml daily but might add pressurised co2 further down the line depending on how successful the growth is without it. 50% water change once a week and I'll use RO water. I've just filled the tank up with only the substrate and hardscape and will leave it like this for 2/3 weeks before planting. Livestock will come much further down the line once the tank is fully established and grown in.

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Specifications:

Aquarium: 30x30x30L bought from pets at home years ago
Lighting: Twinstar 300E LED, dimmed to 40% with dimmer/timer module from Aquarium Gardens
Filtration: Dennerle scapers flow with shrimp guard
Heater: SuperFish Nano 50W
CO2: Easylife Easy-Carbo 1ml per day (might add pressurised at a later stage)
Fertilisation: Lean dosing - Tropica Specialised, 1 squirt per week
Hardscape: Redmoor wood + a few bits of Seiryu Stone (Mini Landscape Rock)
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia powder
Plants: Anubias petite, Moss (fissidens, java), Monte carlo, Mini hairgrass, Salvinia auriculata, Mini java fern, Rotala green, Staurogyne repens
Livestock: (To be added further down the line) Crystal rainbow tetra or Mosquito Rasbora, black + red CRS, Otto's, Snails, Pigmy's

Very keen to hear any thoughts, suggestions and opinions along the way.
 
Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
106
Location
Kew Gardens
I can see you’ve done this before and put some thought into it. Plant wise, I’ve had success and failure with Monte Carlo without CO2, depending on how you look at it. I‘ve carpeted it twice, but it has gone to 💩 after neglect, so I’d say it can be done. Hairgrass is currently also working for me without CO2, but beware it grows even slower than Monte Carlo, so would be suitable to play 2nd fiddle rather than as a lush carpet. All the other plants can be done without CO2, though the Rotala won’t look as nice.

btw Easy-Carbo works as an algaecide rather than as a Carbon source, so worth it if used for with the right intentions.
 

Emyr

Member
Thread starter
Joined
20 Jul 2011
Messages
343
Location
London
We're all planted, up and running. I cycled the tank for a couple of weeks with just the hardscape to allow some ammonia to leech out of the substrate, get the filter media going and for that white fussy bacteria stuff that tends to form on the wood to cycle which I then scrubbed off.

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I'm using 100% RO water at the moment but I'm thinking about adding 10% London tap water for some minerals etc. I do have some small bits of mini landscape rock in there which might be providing enough. I need to buy a test kit and experiment a bit but I plan on stocking this tank with crystal red shrimp so it’s all a consideration for when I do. Maybe just sticking with 100% RO is fine? One thing I am slightly concerned with the CRS is that because the tank only small and in the kitchen the temperature tends to differ between 23-24.5c depending on the time of day.

Side shots
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The only change to the planting arrangement was deciding to use Pearlweed rather than Rotala Green at the back and adding some coral moss / mini pellia clumps onto the 'branches'. The fissidens has yet to arrive too.

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This is 4 days after planting, there's a bit of melt on the clumps of Monte Carlo that werent the healthiest when I planted them so this was expected. Otherwise the MC seems to have taken quite well and grown in a bit.

Currently running the light dimmed at 50% intensity for 8 hours a day with an hour of fade in and fade out - 10 hours of light in total. Im thinking about reducing the intensity further to 40%.
Dosing 1ml of liquid carbon each morning.
Dosing 1 pump (2ml) of the Tropica Specialised once a week with a 50% water change on a Sunday. I’m wondering whether 1 pump is enough but I’ve seen a fair bit of success with a ‘leaner dosing’ strategy.
I've put some Seachem Purigen in the filter and am also planning on using some Seachem Pristine for a couple of weeks to clear up a little bit of bacteria on the wood that’s still present.

As ever, very keen to hear all of your thoughts and opinions.
 
Last edited:

si walker

Member
Joined
30 Mar 2020
Messages
166
Location
uk
Hi.
Nice set up. How is it all going? And hows the filter working out for you?
Thanks!
Si
 

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